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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A gamepad (also called joypad or control pad), is a type of game controller held in the hand, where the digits (especially thumbs) are used to provide input. Gamepads generally feature a set of action buttons handled with the right thumb and a direction controller handled with the left. The direction controller has traditionally been a four-way digital cross (also named a joypad, or alternatively a D-pad), but most modern controllers additionally (or as a substitute) feature an analog stick.

The gamepad with a trackball for use with the Apple Bandai Pippin

Some common additions to the standard pad include shoulder buttons placed along the edges of the pad, centrally placed start, select, and mode buttons, and an internal motor to provide force feedback. Some models, like Space Orb, have a trackball.

Gamepads are the primary means of input on all modern video game consoles except for the Wii (though the Wii Remote can function alternately as a gamepad). Gamepads are also available for personal computers, although a keyboard and mouse combination tends to be utilized more often for certain genres.

There are programmable joysticks that can emulate keyboard input. Generally they have been made to circumvent the lack of joystick support in some computer games, i.e. the Belkin Nostromo SpeedPad n52. There are several programs that emulate keyboard and mouse input with a gamepad such as JoyToKey, Xpadder, and Pinnacle Game Profiler.

Some manufacturers and retailers may also use the term "gamepad" to refer to a gaming keypad.


Third Generation

The third generation of video games saw many major changes, and the eminence of gamepads in the video game market. Nintendo launched the NES controller, and was followed soon later by Sega's Master System controller in 1986. Gamepads offered gamers a new and more universal way to play games, and their dominance continued throughout later generations as they eventually became the only significant kind of game controller.


Nintendo Entertainment System

Famicom controllers were simple in design, though they included a number of features, such as a microphone, missing from their NES counterparts. Notice that the 2nd controller has a microphone in place of Start and Select buttons.

The NES controller used Nintendo's patented cross-shaped joypad (a modified version of Milton Bradley's Cosmic Hunter joypad concept), which was used by their "Game & Watch" series of games as the standard for their home console controllers. The NES and Famicom controller featured a brick-like design with a simple, four button layout: two buttons labeled "A" and "B," a "start" button, and a "select" button. Near the end of the NES's lifespan, upon the release of the AV Famicom and the NES 2, the design of the game controller was modified slightly, abandoning the "brick" shell in favor of a "dog bone" shape, reminiscent of the controllers of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System.

Before the 1984 product recall, Famicom controllers were manufactured with square-shaped A and B buttons.

The original Famicom controllers were different from the NES ones in the sense that, besides their design (and being hardwired into the console), the second controller lacked Select and Start buttons- in their place was a microphone, although very few games supported it.

The Famicom was also the first home system to put the directional control on the left. While many arcade systems had the directional control joystick on the left of the buttons, most home systems of the era used joysticks designed for right-handed operation. The division has continued to this day, with computer joysticks typically being designed for use in the right hand with gamepads and arcade joysticks favouring the left hand.

The iconic NES controller.

Master System

A diagram of the Master System controller's layout.

The Master System has a similar brick-shaped appearance to the NES controller, but the d-pad (named the "D button") is square-shaped instead of cross-shaped, and there are no distinct "select" and "start" buttons. The two action buttons were labeled "1" and "2", and the "1" button doubled as a "Start" button. Master System games were pausable only by accessing a button on the console itself. Some early models of the pad featured a hole in the centre of the joypad into which a small attachment could be screwed to make the pad function more like a joystick. A proper joystick was later released for the machine. Unlike the Nintendo machines of the time, the Sega machines used a common D-subminiature connection, enabling their pads to be used on different systems.

Atari 7800

The Atari 7800 Joypad.

In response to criticism over ergonomic issues in the Pro-Line controllers, Atari later released joypad controllers with European Atari 7800s, which were similar in style to controllers found on Nintendo and Sega Systems.

Fourth Generation

Genesis/Mega Drive

Original three button joypad with later six button version

The Sega Mega Drive/Genesis control pad has an eight-direction joypad (referred to by Sega as the D Button, short for directional button), a start button and three action buttons. The three buttons were enough for early arcade ports such as Golden Axe. As fighting games evolved (specifically the release of fighting games such as Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat which required more than three action buttons to play effectively), a six-button pad was released. Noticeably smaller, it features 3 more buttons placed over the original three (traditionally called the "Street Fighter" layout). Some games were not compatible with the new controller (like John Madden Football and Olympic Gold); a "mode" button was placed in the right shoulder position. In order to work with these games, this button had to be pressed during the console power-on sequence, until the SEGA logo appeared. Both versions of the Mega Drive pad again used the DE9 connection and were compatible with most Master System games. They were even compatible with Atari 2600 game systems.


The TurboGrafx-16's controller was similar to Nintendo's NES and SNES controllers, in that it had a joypad, Start and Select buttons, and "I" & "II" buttons. The system was launched for Japan, America and Europe (on a limited basis) from 1987 to 1993, and games were produced for it until 1999. A unique feature of the controller was the built in Turbo buttons, which had 3 settings for the I & II buttons.

Super Nintendo Entertainment System

The Super NES controller in Europe, which is identical to the Japanese Super Famicom controller apart from the branding.

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System controller had a more rounded dog-bone like design and added two more face buttons, "X" and "Y", arranging the four in a diamond formation. Another addition was the "L" and "R" shoulder buttons, which have been imitated by most controllers since.

There is a slight variation in the North American version of the controller. In the original design the A, B, Y and X buttons are all convex-curved and each one has a distinct color (A was red, B was yellow, X was blue, and Y was green). For the American market the A and B buttons were colored purple and the Y and X buttons were lavender and concave-curved.

Fifth Generation

Atari Jaguar

The Atari Jaguar's gamepad had 17 buttons, and the later Pro Pad had 20.

The Atari Jaguar was the first and last Atari console to employ the modern gamepad (rather than the older Pro-Line controller) as the standard controller shipping with consoles. The gamepad featured an array of 12 buttons (considerably more than other gamepads) in order to suit the predicted needs of future games, however this was criticized by gamers as unnecessarily complex. Beside the array of 12, the controller also had three action buttons (A, B, and C), a Pause and an Option button. The later-released Pro Controller featured an extra three buttons bringing the total to 20.[1]


Sega Saturn controller as released in North-America and Europe
The optional Sega Saturn analog controller that came packaged with some copies of Nights into Dreams...

The Japanese Sega Saturn control pad was based on the Mega Drive 6-button controller and has eight buttons, six of which are action buttons and two additional left and right buttons. The American variant (as pictured left) is bigger and has a different shape. It features a different directional pad and different face and shoulder buttons. It was replaced by the Japanese controller in 1996/1997 with the introduction of the model 2 Saturn.

The 3D Control Pad (pictured right) was included with the breakthrough game, Nights into Dreams..., that introduced an analog stick. The console had several official controllers: a light gun (named Stunner), a steering wheel (Arcade Racer), a flight simulator stick (Mission Stick), dual arcade sticks (Twin Sticks), and a traditional arcade joystick (Virtua Stick).

Sega has since re-released the Japanese version of the Sega Saturn gamepad as a Windows and Mac OS X-compatible USB version.[2]

Virtual Boy

A Virtual Boy controller.

The Virtual Boy controller was a controller which utilized dual joypads similar to how analog sticks functioned in later "dual control" sixth-generation systems. The presence of two pads was an effort to control objects in a 3D environment (one pad controlling pitch and turning while the other controlling forward movement and strafing).


Sony's original controller had a four direction D-pad, and two groups of four digital buttons, the action buttons (referred not by color or letter/number like most pads until then, but by four shapes - a square, a triangle, a circle, and an X standing for cross), four shoulder buttons (R1, R2, L1, and L2, standing for right and left) plus start and select buttons. It was the default pad for the first year of the PlayStation, until the release of the Dual Analog. It was often cloned for PC gamepads.

First announced in a press release in late 1995, the Dual Analog was finally shown to the public at the PlayStation expo in November 1996. It was similar to the original PlayStation controller, with several key differences. The Dual Analog's handles were longer and more tapered, the first Japanese revisions had rumble capability, and there were twin concave analog thumbsticks placed in the lower center of the controller, below a tri-function "mode" button. Apparently due to lack of interest, later models of Japanese Dual Analog controllers had the rumble feature removed.

The next revision saw the introduction of Sony's DualShock. This device brought back rumble (hence the name), cosmetically changed the handles, removed the third "mode" option and added "L3 and R3", which were incorporated into the sticks themselves (you could push down on the stick to make it "click"). The controller was released as a secondary peripheral in late 1997 in Japan, and in May 1998 in North America. Its popularity dictated the end of the Dual Analog, and the DualShock was selected as the new standard controller during a large part of the final half of the console's life.

Nintendo 64

Nintendo 64 controller.

The Nintendo 64 controller started a trend to have both an analog stick (referred to by Nintendo as a 'control stick') and a D-pad. It has the traditional A, B, L, and R buttons, along with a Z trigger button on its underside. Four "C" buttons were originally intended to control the camera in games, but were later used for a wide variety of functions, such as the sub-weapons in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. In addition to the Rumble Pak, the controller also can house a Controller Pak for saving games, and a microphone add-on. The Nintendo 64 controller's design seems controversial with its trident shape, making for three ways to hold the controller. The most used way in games to hold the controller was for the left hand to hold the center grip, so the thumb could move the analog stick and the index finger could press the Z trigger. The right hand would be on the right grip of the controller and have access to all the main face buttons, and the R button. In addition to the standard grey, Nintendo 64 controllers were available in seven different semi-transparent colors, with consoles to match: Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Red, Black and Clear Blue. There were also several opaque controllers available, such as green, yellow, red and blue. Accessories for the N64 controller included a Rumble Pak that contained a force-feedback vibration motor (which has since become a standard feature for most Nintendo controllers) and a Transfer Pak that added an input slot for Game Boy cartridges to allow connectivity between Nintendo 64 and Game Boy games.

Sixth Generation


The Dreamcast controller in Europe, with a blue spiral.

The Dreamcast controller has a similar design to the Saturn 3D Control Pad. It features an analog stick, a D-pad, four face buttons and a start button, and introduced pressure sensitive triggers on the left and right underside. The gamepad also featured two slots that could be used for a VMU (Visual Memory Unit, which incorporated a memory card) and allow the VMU screen to show animations while playing a game, or a vibration pack. The accessory slots, button positions, and analogue triggers would also be present in Microsoft's Xbox controller. Like the Saturn, the Dreamcast had additional controllers available at launch, including a unique fishing rod controller (for use with Get Bass/Sega Bass Fishing), a mouse and keyboard, and other more common peripherals such as a light gun, a steering wheel and an arcade stick.

PlayStation 2

The PlayStation 2's original DualShock controller shown in "Island Blue" color.
The DualShock 2 controller.

The DualShock was subsequently used for the follow up system, the PlayStation 2, but was slightly altered to make the buttons pressure sensitive (except for L3, R3, Start and Select). Other minor modifications made include the change of cable (and end connector) color from grey to black, a slight squaring of the connector (compared to the original version - DualShocks provided with the smaller PSOne were even rounder), and "DUALSHOCK 2" printed in blue on the top of the controller next to where the cable enters. The new controller was dubbed the DualShock 2. While The original PlayStation controller was compatible with a few early PS2 games, almost all games now require the use of analog sticks, and many require the pressure sensitive buttons added by the DualShock 2. Due to it being the color of the standard console, the standard color of DualShock2s is black, although other colors are available, notably silver, included with the silver version of the console (both original and slimline versions). It should be noted that while the color of the controller supplied with silver consoles was changed to match, the color of the cable and connector remained black.

Nintendo GameCube

Indigo Nintendo GameCube wired controller.
WaveBird wireless controller + receiver

The Nintendo GameCube controller adopted a similar style to the PlayStation DualShock. It has two analog sticks, a small D-pad, and four main face buttons, arranged in a unique radial pattern. The Nintendo GameCube controller also has pressure sensitive analog shoulder buttons that click when pressed down completely (allowing, in theory, for each button to provide two buttons' functionality), a Z button located in front of the R button, and a built in rumble feature. Nintendo later introduced the WaveBird controller, a wireless pad that uses radio frequency technology refined from the Atari Wireless RF controllers, in order to operate without relying on infrared. The Wavebird overall has the same layout, but doesn't include force feedback (in order to save battery life) and is larger than a standard GameCube control. It operates using two AA batteries and ranges about 100 hours of gameplay.


The original Xbox controller and the subsequent Controller S

Similar in design to the Gamecube controller, the Xbox controller includes two expansion slots, six analog buttons, two analog triggers, and two analog sticks, a total of eight digital buttons (four of which make up the D-pad), as well as built in rumble support. Differing from the Dreamcast controller, the Microsoft controller adds a right analog stick, making it similar to the configuration used by the Nintendo GameCube controller. It also adds the "black", "white" and "back" (select) buttons.

The Xbox controller went through a revision specifically for Japanese consumers and due to complaints that the initial controller was too bulky. (The size of the Xbox controller has been the subject of many jokes in video game-related web comics; it has even been nicknamed "Duke" and "Hamburger".) The result was the Type-S controller which Microsoft adopted and has since bundled with their system in all regions. Both of the original Xbox controllers had a breakaway point near the end of the cord, so it would break into two parts and the game would pause if it was pulled too far, preventing damage to the console itself.

Towards the original Xbox's end several counterfeit manufacturers based in Hong Kong started to produce inferior copies of the Xbox S-type controller. On first impressions, the difference between the official endorsed controller and the bootlegged one is subtle. The average lifespan of an official Xbox controller became approximately 2 years. The Hong Kong controller, on average, lasted only 2 months. As a result, Microsoft began to issue silver authenticity stickers on their packaging. In addition to this, Microsoft’s packaging serial numbers would also match the controllers' serial numbers.

Seventh Generation

Xbox 360

Xbox 360 wired controller.
Xbox 360 wireless controller, with removable plastic overlay, pointing out that the main "X" button can be used to power on and power off the console.

The Xbox 360 controller has wireless capabilities and removes the "black" and "white" buttons and in their place adds two "bumper" buttons, one above each trigger. When playing original Xbox games on the 360, the left and right bumpers are used in place of the white and black, respectively. The wireless version runs off two "AA" Batteries or a rechargeable battery pack. Microsoft has released a first-party "Play and Charge" kit which recharges the battery pack via a USB connection through the controller, though while connected the pad still communicates wirelessly. The wired version uses a USB cable to plug into the Xbox 360. The wired pad, or the wireless pad with the Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows are the standard gamepad for Games for Windows, and can be configured to work with most PC software that supports gamepad or joystick input. Games for Windows that were originally developed for the Xbox 360 will normally support Force feedback with the standard Microsoft driver. For older Windows games (normally games coded to the older DirectX standard), installing the open-source XBCD driver may enable in-game Force Feedback effects.

PlayStation 3

Initially, the conceptual controller for the PlayStation 3 was similar to its DualShock and Dual Analog predecessors; however, it was much more curved in shape than these controllers, with an appearance similar to that of a banana or boomerang. This odd shape has often been the subject of much ridicule, often being called a banana, a boomerang, or a "bananarang".

The 2005 "Boomerang" or "Banana" controller which was soon abandoned after its poor publicity
The PlayStation 3's DualShock 3 wireless controller, which includes both vibration function and the motion-sensing functionality of the original Sixaxis wireless controller.

During the E3 2006 conference, Sony abandoned the boomerang-shaped controller, in favor of a controller dubbed Sixaxis. Sixaxis is cosmetically nearly identical to the DualShock; however, the wireless controller features the addition of tilt-sensor and linear accelerometer technology, as well as larger 'trigger-like' L2 and R2 buttons. A new "PS" button was added to expedite usage of the XrossMediaBar System. However, Sixaxis lacks the rumble capability featured in the preceding DualShock controller. Sony stated that the rumble would interfere with the motion sensor; however, the omission of rumble capability can be traced to Immersion Corporation suing both Sony and Microsoft for patent infringing on Immersion's force-feedback technology. Although Microsoft settled out of court, Sony decided to fight back and lost the resultant case. Having settled the issue with Immersion in late 2007, Sony launched the DualShock 3. The controller is the same as the Sixaxis (motion sensing and wireless capability), but has the blue name next to the Charge Port changed to Dualshock 3 with the name Sixaxis instead placed below the Dualshock 3 name, the aforementioned rumble, and more weight, which to some gamers corrects the lightness of the Sixaxis.


Early Wii Remote prototype (lacks the speaker) and Nunchuk attachment

The Wii Remote is an unconventional controller in comparison to others. In its basic form, it is shaped like a television remote control and includes a number of features. Most notably, it contains tilt sensors and three-dimensional pointing which allows the system to understand all directions of movement (up, down, left, right, in, and out, etc.) and rotation (back and forth around the pitch, roll, and yaw axes). The Wii Remote has four buttons, labeled A, B (on the back), 1 and 2, plus the start (+), select (-) and home button (a house). The controller is also multifunctional and expandable, including an expansion bay which can be used with different types of peripherals. An analog stick peripheral called "Nunchuk" features two trigger buttons(C and Z) to be used by the other hand. Like the Wii Remote, the Nunchuk contains an accelerometer[3] but unlike the Wii Remote, it lacks any pointer functionality. For NES Virtual Console games, the Wii Remote can be used on its side or the classic controller can be used.

Wii Remote and the Classic Controller attachment

The Classic Controller is also available for use with the Wii's Virtual Console as well as some Wii titles. It resembles a Super NES controller and contains two analog sticks placed similarly to Sony's DualShock. Instead of having start and select buttons, it has the -, home, and + buttons from the Wii Remote. However, there are text labels below each button, reading "Select", "Home" and "Start" respectively[4]. There are four action buttons labeled A, B, X and Y, as well as the L and R shoulder buttons, plus the ZL and ZR buttons. The console also supports use of the Nintendo GameCube controller for Nintendo GameCube Game Discs compatibility and limited Virtual Console play, as well as certain Wii games (most notably Super Smash Bros. Brawl).

At E3 2007 the Wii Zapper was unveiled for the first time to the public. The Wii Zapper gives players a sense that they are holding a gun, arguably making first person shooters more immersive. The attachment lists for $19.99 in the United States and simply uses the regular Wii Remote and Nunchuk to form the shape of a gun.

Other gamepads



Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Joystick article)

From Wikia Gaming, your source for walkthroughs, games, guides, and more!

A joystick, joypad or gamepad is a device used in the palm of your hands to play video and computer games.



Prior to the birth or coin-op arcade machines, joysticks were first used for helicoptors and other aviation vehicles. Subsequent to the rise of video games, flight simulators have been written for various computer systems and have used a variety of game controllers, including joysticks and flight yokes.

Types of joysticks


The tilt lever joystick is the oldest, simplest and most primative type joystick used for gaming and other applications. They often have more than just a tilt-lever and trigger buttons. They also have thorottles, POV hats, Z coordinates, etc.


A joypad is a somewhat primative joystick that uses a D-pad rather than a tilt-lever. Not to mention, joypad for more modern consoles feature miniature analog sticks that act is if they were joystick levers, but in a more miniature scale.

This article uses material from the "Joystick" article on the Gaming wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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